Hallelujah! The science gods are finally on our side, as a new study from Kyorin University in Tokyo finds that eating ice cream first thing in the morning can make you smart.
Led by professor of psychophysiology, Yoshihiko Koga, the study carried out a series of clinical trials involving subjects who ate ice cream immediately after waking up in the morning. Researchers put the group through a series of computerized mental exercises to gauge their alertness and information processing, and compared to a control group who did not indulge, the frosty treaters showed both faster reaction times and better processing capabilities.
A reasoned explanation for the better performance is still forthcoming, although Koga found that brain scans of those who ate ice cream revealed an increase in higher-frequency Alpha waves, which are reportedly linked to reduced mental irritation and high alertness. (Not hard to believe, really, as you’d be hard pressed to upset me when I’m plowing into a bowl of mint chocolate chip.)
One possible cause for the added alertness, that ingesting the cold confection might be shocking the body’s system into attention, was discounted, as Koga’s team also examined a group who were given cold water before being tested. And although they fared better than the group who received nothing, the cold water group’s results were still significantly lower than the ice cream eaters.
Predictably, some folks are now rushing in to put the kibosh on the newly sanctioned morning ritual. “A possible explanation [for increased alertness] is the simple presence of consuming breakfast vs. not consuming breakfast,” said Katie Barfoot, a Nutritional Psychology Doctoral Researcher at Reading University, in conversation with the Daily Telegraph. “Our brain needs glucose to function, and a high glucose meal will aid mental capacity considerably compared to a fasted brain.”
Barfoot adds, rather disappointingly in this reviewer’s opinion, “This, however, does not condone eating dessert for breakfast.”
While in Canada, we do celebrate Pancake Tuesday and you’re liable to get a beaver tail in Ottawa’s Byward Market pretty early in the day, if you’re so inclined, there does not seem to be much tradition for eating ice cream for breakfast -unlike in the U.S. where Ice Cream for Breakfast Day is an actual thing. Creatively originated by a mom in Rochester, New York, in the 1960s, the tradition continues, with the first Saturday in February marked for the event. (And, yes, it’s already down on my 2017 calendar.)
But sweets for breakfast are apparently falling out of fashion, at least with millennials, who are turning away from sugary breakfast cereals in droves. The cohort is apparently more interested in starting the day in a healthy way and the young go-getters reportedly do not have time for a sit-down bowl of Frosted Flakes anymore, as previous generations were wont to do. The CBC writes that cereal makers have responded by changing tactics, now advertising their wares as all-day foods for whenever you’re looking for a snack with that extra fun sugary hit.